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The Brink of Peace

Princeton University Press, 1998

The Brink of Peace does an excellent job of placing the reader at the negotiating table between Israel and Syria, but in some ways this may not be good. Since the talks were so maddeningly intricate, the players so difficult to read, and the final results so minimal, this record is a complicated autopsy indeed. Still, there is much to learn here, and few were as close to the action as Itamar Rabinovich. As Israel's ambassador to the United States and the chief negotiator with Syria from 1992 to 1996, Rabinovich sat through countless hours of teeth clenching and fist pounding that, despite the book's title, came nowhere near resolution on the main issues at hand. "At no time during this period ... were Israel and Syria on the verge of a breakthrough," he writes, and he then proceeds to present an incredibly detailed version of why things went awry.

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